In the 1960s, the world was engulfed in what we now know as the Space Race between the U.S and the Soviet Union. Now, with the immense advancements made in the field of technology and especially space travel, a new breed of competition has sparked across the private sector in the form of Space Tourism. Numerous companies such as the likes of Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic are offering prospective customers the once in a lifetime chance of viewing the earth from a sub-orbital altitude. However, these space age flights do carry a rather extraordinary price tag with a trip aboard the SpaceShip Two sub-orbital craft costing as much as $200,00 a seat. Now, José Mariano López-Urdiales the founder of Spanish space tourism start up, zero2infinity, has come out with an extremely interesting and enticing concept called, Bloon. The Bloon will provide the eager space tourists a majestic and unforgettable view of the earth’s curvature as well the deep black expanse of space from an altitude of 36 km (22 miles) all made possible in a balloon. That’s right, unlike the other space tourism companies and their big fancy rockets, zero2infinity plans to take the tourists of a slow motion trip to the edge of the earth’s orbit in a balloon. The Bloon has been stated to be quite inexpensive than the rocket powered flights and as the bloon won’t be restricted by the properties of ballistics, this remarkable balloon will be able to remain airborne for longer durations, offering breathtaking views for up to six hours.
José Mariano López-Urdiales, an aerospace engineer who has his education background from MIT had also served in some of the most respected companies and agencies such as Boeing and the European Space Agency (ESA). Learning from the history of balloon flights, Mr. López-Urdiales had come with the idea of expanding the space tourism concept to a new horizon with an hot air filled balloon. One of the remarkable features of the Bloon, will be its ability of offering the travelers a stunning view of the earth as they rise to the designated altitude slowly and then let them draw in the awestruck moment of witnessing the earth’s curvature on side and the deep space on the other with the sun shining in between them. The passengers will rise up in the air enclosed in pod that will be attached to a large helium balloon and the pod will consist of two pilots and four tourists. The pod will rise to 36 km in altitude and after some time there, the pod will begin its descend back to earth. zero2infinity’s ‘near-space’ experience though as serene as it can be won’t be coming cheap. In fact the complete package will cost you about $156,000 and the service is expected to be in place and operational in the next five years.
Via Design Bloom